Title:
THERAPEUTIC EXERCISE APPARATUS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A therapeutic exercise apparatus enables a user to depress a pedal by his or her heel without his or her foot coming off the pedal. The apparatus includes a main body, a link having one end mounted through a rotation shaft on the main body so as to be rotatable around its one end by a predetermined angle, a pedal mounted on the other end of the link so as to be rotatable by a predetermined angle and adapted to be depressed by a user's foot thereby to rotate the link; and a foot restraining member provided on the pedal for restraining the foot. The foot restraining member has a base provided with a heel support portion for supporting a heel of the foot, and the heel support portion is disposed on the pedal such that the direction of a depression force of the foot passes through the rotation shaft.



Inventors:
Hayashi, Takuya (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
12/019018
Publication Date:
09/04/2008
Filing Date:
01/24/2008
Assignee:
MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC ENGINEERING COMPANY, LIMITED (Tokyo, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B23/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
JALALZADEH ABYAN, SHILA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEYDIG VOIT & MAYER, LTD (1900 Duke Street SUITE 420, Alexandria, VA, 22314, US)
Claims:
1. A therapeutic exercise apparatus comprising: a main body; a link that has a first end portion rotatably mounted on said main body; a pedal that is mounted through a rotation shaft on a second end portion of said link for rotation relative to said link and, upon depression by a foot of a user, rotates said link; and a foot restraining member located on said pedal for restraining the foot, wherein said foot restraining member has a base including a heel support portion for supporting a heel of the foot; and said heel support portion can be disposed on said pedal in such a manner that direction of a force, which is generated by depression pedal by the foot and has a base point on a bottom of the heel, passes through said rotation shaft.

2. The therapeutic exercise apparatus as set forth in claim 1, including an attachable and detachable unit located between said pedal and said foot restraining member detachably attaching said foot restraining member to said pedal.

3. The therapeutic exercise apparatus as set forth in claim 2, wherein said attachable and detachable unit has an engagement portion on said pedal, and a plurality of engaged portions located on a surface of said base, facing in opposition to said pedal, selectively engaging said engagement portion.

4. The therapeutic exercise apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said foot restraining member further has an ankle band that surrounds a circumference of an ankle of the foot in cooperation with said base.

5. The therapeutic exercise apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said foot restraining member further has a lower thigh support portion that is integral with said heel support portion and supports a lower thigh of a leg of the user, and a lower thigh band for surrounding a circumference of the lower thigh in cooperation with said lower thigh support portion.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a therapeutic exercise apparatus having a pedal rotatably mounted on an end of a rotatable link.

2. Description of the Related Art

In general, therapeutic exercise apparatuses are widely used as apparatuses which enable people to easily perform exercises for enhancement of physical strength, health promotion, and prevention of adult diseases. In addition, they are also used for therapeutic exercises that sports players under injury, patients after orthopedic surgery, cerebrovascular disease patients, etc., do for the purposes of muscular strength recovery, muscular strength reinforcement, and gait training.

In the past, there has been known a therapeutic exercise apparatus including a main body, a link that has one end thereof mounted on the main body for rotation relative thereto, and a pedal that is rotatably mounted on the other end of the link and is adapted to be depressed or pushed down by a foot of a user to rotate the link (see, for example, a first patent document: Japanese patent application laid-open No. 2006-137399).

In general, a person puts his or her foot down on the ground from his or her heel as he or she walks, so when a therapeutic exercise apparatus is used for gait training, it is necessary for the person to depress or push down a pedal by his or her heel.

In this case, however, there is the following problem. That is, when the person depresses or push down the pedal by means of his or her heel, the heel, being not held by the pedal, might come or slip off from the pedal.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is intended to obviate the problem as referred to above, and has for its object to provide a therapeutic exercise apparatus which enable a person to depress or push down a pedal by his or her heel without his or her foot coming off or slipping off from the pedal.

Bearing the above object in mind, a therapeutic exercise apparatus according to the present invention includes: a main body; a link that has one end portion thereof rotatably mounted on the main body; a pedal that is mounted through a rotation shaft on the other end portion of the link for rotation relative thereto and is adapted to be depressed by a foot of a user thereby to rotate the link; and a foot restraining member that is provided on the pedal for restraining the foot. The foot restraining member has a base provided with a heel support portion for supporting a heel of the foot. The heel support portion can be disposed on the pedal in such a manner that the direction of a force, which is generated by depression of the foot and has its base point on a bottom of the heel, passes through the rotation shaft.

According to the therapeutic exercise apparatus of the present invention, the foot restraining member provided on the pedal serves to restrain a foot of a user, so the user's foot can be prevented from coming off or slipping off from the pedal. In addition, the heel support portion of the foot restraining member can be disposed on the pedal in such a manner that the direction of a force, which is generated by depression of the foot and has its base point on the bottom or sole of a heel of the user, passes through the rotation shaft. Thus, it is possible to depress or push down the pedal by the heel of the user.

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the present invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a partial side elevational view of a therapeutic exercise apparatus according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a partial side elevational view of a therapeutic exercise apparatus according to a second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view showing a concave portion of a pedal and a convex portion of a foot restraining member.

FIG. 4 is a partial side elevational view of a therapeutic exercise apparatus according to a third embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Hereinafter, preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described in detail while referring to the accompanying drawings.

Embodiment 1

Now, referring to the drawings and first to FIG. 1, there is shown, in a partial side view, a therapeutic exercise apparatus according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

The therapeutic exercise apparatus according to this embodiment includes a main body 1, a bar-shaped link 2 that has one end portion thereof mounted on the main body 1 in such a manner as to be rotatable relative to the main body 1 only within a predetermined angular range, a pedal 3 of a flat plate shape that is mounted on the other end portion of the link 2 through a rotation shaft 3a in such a manner as to be rotatable relative to the link 2 only within a predetermined angular range, and a foot restraining member 5 that is formed on the pedal 3 for restraining a foot or leg 4 of a user.

The foot restraining member 5 has a base 5c that supports the user's foot 4, an ankle band 5a that surrounds the vicinity of an ankle 4a of the foot 4 in cooperation with the base 5c, and a tiptoe band 5b that surrounds the vicinity of tiptoe 4d of the foot 4 in cooperation with the base 5c.

Since a tip end side of the foot 4 from the ankle 4a is restrained to the foot restraining member 5 by means of the base 5c, the ankle band 5a and the tiptoe band 5b, the foot 4 is avoided from coming off or slipping off from the pedal 3. Accordingly, the user can freely perform a plantar flexion movement or a dorsal flexion movement of his or her ankle joint with his or her foot 4 being restrained to the foot restraining member 5.

The base 5c of the foot restraining member 5 has a heel support portion 6a that supports a heel 4b of the user's foot 4, an arch support portion 6b that supports an arch 4c of the foot 4, and a tiptoe support portion 6c that supports the tiptoe 4d of the foot 4. The foot restraining member 5 is fixedly secured to the pedal 3 in such a manner that the rotation shaft 3a of the pedal 3 is disposed right under the heel support portion 6a. As a result, the direction of a force, which is generated by depression or stepping down of the foot 4 and has its base point on the bottom or sole of the heel 4b, passes through the rotation shaft 3a of the pedal 3, so the user can depress or push down the pedal 3 by means of the heel 4b.

When the user depresses or steps down the pedal 3 with the tip end side of the user's foot 4 from the ankle 4a being restrained by the foot restraining member 5, the link 2 is caused to rotate in one direction by means of the user's pedal depressing force. At this time, the direction of the user's pedal depressing force passes through the rotation shaft 3a of the pedal 3.

Since it is possible for the ankle joint of the user's foot 4 to perform a plantar flexion movement or a dorsal flexion movement, the user has to put strength so as to fix the rotational angle of the ankle joint when depressing the pedal 3.

According to the therapeutic exercise apparatus of this embodiment, the foot restraining member 5 for restraining the foot 4 is fixed to the pedal 3 in such a manner that the rotation shaft 3a of the pedal 3 is disposed right under the heel support portion 6a. With such an arrangement, the user can push down or depress the pedal 3 by his or her heel 4b without his or her foot 4 coming off or slipping off from the pedal 3. As a result, it is possible to make the user requiring gait training easily catch a sense of stepping down from the heel 4b, which is needed for walking.

In addition, since the foot restraining member 5 has the base 5c, the ankle band 5a and the tiptoe band 5b, and serves to restrain the tip end side of the foot 4 of the user from the ankle 4a, the ankle joint of the user's foot 4 is made possible to perform a plantar flexion movement or a dorsal flexion movement, and the user has to put strength so as to fix the rotational angle of the ankle joint when depressing or stepping down the pedal 3, as a consequence of which the user is able to train muscular strength around the ankle joint.

Embodiment 2

FIG. 2 is a partial side elevational view of a therapeutic exercise apparatus according to a second embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 3 is a side elevational view that shows concave portions 3b of a pedal 3 and convex portions 5f (though only one is illustrated) of a foot restraining member 5, which are based on FIG. 2 of Japanese patent application laid-open No. H5-131968.

The pedal 3 is provided on its opposite sides with the concave portions 3b that act as engagement portions for engaging the foot restraining member 5. The convex portions 5f, which act as engaged portions that are adapted to be selectively fitted into the concave portions 3b of the pedal 3, are formed on a surface of a base 5c of the foot restraining member 5 facing in opposition to the pedal 3 at three locations including a heel support portion 6a, an arch support portion 6b and a tiptoe support portion 6c.

An attachable and detachable unit, which serves to attach the foot restraining member 5 to the pedal 3 in a detachable manner, is composed of the concave portions 3b of the pedal 3 and the convex portions 5f of the base 5c. With this attachable and detachable unit, the foot restraining member 5 can be detached from the pedal 3 when it is not necessary to restrain the foot 4.

In addition, in case where the user depresses or steps down the pedal 3 by means of the foot 4 in the vicinity of an arch 4c thereof, he or she is able to place the pedal 3 right under the arch support portion 6b by fitting the convex portion 5f of the arch support portion 6b into the concave portions 3b of the pedal 3. As a result, the user can do an exercise in which the pedal 3 is depressed or stepped down by the arch 4c of the foot 4.

Further, in case where the user depresses or steps down the pedal 3 by means of the foot 4 in the vicinity of tiptoe 4d thereof he or she is able to place the pedal 3 right under the tiptoe support portion 6c by fitting the convex portion 5f of the tiptoe support portion 6c into the concave portions 3b of the pedal 3. As a result, the user can do an exercise in which the pedal 3 is depressed or stepped down by the tiptoe 4d of the foot 4, thus making it possible to enhance the effect of training muscular strength around an ankle joint.

The construction of this second embodiment other than the above is similar to that of the first embodiment.

According to the therapeutic exercise apparatus of this second embodiment, the foot restraining member 5 is attachable and detachable with respect to the pedal 3, so by detaching the foot restraining member 5 from the pedal 3, a user who wants to depress or step down the pedal 3 for example by means of the arch 4c of the foot 4 is also able to use the therapeutic exercise apparatus by directly depressing the pedal 3.

In addition, the pedal 3 is provided with the concave portions 3b, and the base 5c of the foot restraining member 5 is formed with the convex portions 5f, which are adapted to be selectively fitted into the concave portions 3b of the pedal 3, at the three locations including the heel support portion 6a, the arch support portion 6b and the tiptoe support portion 6c. With such arrangements, a user can depress or step down the pedal 3 for example by means of the arch 4c of the foot 4, and in addition, the user can also depress or step down the pedal 3 by means of the tiptoe 4d of the foot 4.

Embodiment 3

FIG. 4 is a partial side elevational view of a therapeutic exercise apparatus according to a third embodiment of the present invention.

In the therapeutic exercise apparatus according to this third embodiment, a foot restraining member 5 has a lower thigh support portion 5d that supports a lower thigh 4e of a leg 4 of a user, and a lower thigh band 5e that surrounds the circumference of the lower thigh 4e in cooperation with the lower thigh support portion 5d, wherein the lower thigh 4e is restrained by the lower thigh support portion 5d and the lower thigh band 5e.

The lower thigh support portion 5d is formed integrally with a base 5c, and when the lower thigh support portion 5d and the lower thigh band 5e cooperate to each other to restrain the lower thigh 4e, an ankle joint of the user's leg or foot 4 is fixed to a predetermined angle.

The construction of this third embodiment other than the above is similar to that of the first embodiment.

Here, note that the foot restraining member 5 and the pedal 3 may be formed in a mutually attachable and detachable relation with respect to each other, as in the case of the therapeutic exercise apparatus according to the second embodiment. In this case, either one of the foot restraining member 5 of the therapeutic exercise apparatus according to the second embodiment and the foot restraining member 5 of the therapeutic exercise apparatus according to the third embodiment can be appropriately selected according to the degree of muscular strength recovery of a user.

When the user depresses or steps down the pedal 3 with the user's foot 4 being restrained by the foot restraining member 5, a link 2 is caused to rotate in one direction under the action of this depressing force. At this time, the user need not fix the rotational angle of the ankle joint by his or her own force because the ankle joint of the user's foot 4 is fixed to the predetermined angle. As a result, for example, even in case where a user whose muscular strength has not yet been recovered can not fix his or her ankle joint in an appropriate manner, he or she is able to rotate the link 2 in the one direction by depressing or stepping down the pedal 3.

According to the therapeutic exercise apparatus of this third embodiment, the foot restraining member 5 has the lower thigh support portion 5d that serves to support the lower thigh 4e of the leg 4 of a user, and the lower thigh band 5e that surrounds the circumference of the lower thigh 4e in cooperation with the lower thigh support portion 5d. With such a construction, for example, even in case where the user can not fix his or her ankle joint by his or her own force, he or she is able to rotate the link 2 in one direction by depressing or stepping down the pedal 3.

Although in the above-mentioned second embodiment, reference has been made to the therapeutic exercise apparatus in which the concave portions 3b are formed on the pedal 3, and the convex portions 5f, which are adapted to be selectively fitted into the concave portions 3b of the pedal 3, are formed on the base 5c, the present invention is not of course limited to such one, but can also be applied to a therapeutic exercise apparatus in which convex portions are formed on the opposite sides of the pedal 3, respectively, and concave portions adapted to be selectively engaged with the convex portions are formed on the base 5c. In addition, the present invention may be applied to a therapeutic exercise apparatus that has a different type of attachable and detachable unit such as for example a hook and loop fastener, etc., which is mounted or formed on opposed surfaces of the pedal 3 and the base 5c facing in opposition to each other.

Moreover, although in the above-mentioned respective embodiments, reference has been made to the therapeutic exercise apparatuses each of which includes the link 2 and the pedal 3 which are rotatable only within the predetermined angular ranges, respectively, the present invention is not of course limited to such ones, but may be applied, for example, to a therapeutic exercise apparatus that has a link and a pedal which are rotatable through an angle of 360 degrees or more, as in the case of a crank and a pedal of a bicycle.

While the invention has been described in terms of preferred embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention can be practiced with modifications within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.